In most states, the owner of the dog is responsible if someone is bitten. There are some 5 million dog bites to Americans each year, and some 16,000 dog bite cases per year that are awarded money damages. Some states will have the plaintiff provide a degree of evidence that the dog was vicious. However, for the most part, the dog owner needs to seek legal help to deal with the legal charges against him or her for the dog’s behavior. It is possible to be charged in a criminal court or a civil court and lose the dog to euthanasia based on the outcome of the case or cases. Money damages can be awarded to the plaintiff as punishment for the owner, with possible imprisonment.
Many homeowner policies have coverage that all dog owners would be well advised to carry for theses types of cases. This coverage will pay for the monetary award for bodily injury caused by a dog that has bitten or attacked a human. Dog bites and attacks do not only involve humans. If a dog or group of dogs attacks livestock or personal property, a case can also be brought up against the owner, which could result in an award of money damages, criminal charges, or both. Of course, the dog or dogs can also be ordered to be euthanized if the court deems it so. The one bite rule is in force in every state. An owner or keeper of a dog can be held liable for a bite of a dog that has a known tendency to bite or harm others for no good reason.
The one bite rule requires that the victim provide proof that the dog had a tendency to bite, which is difficult to ascertain in many cases. This is because the dog must have bitten other people previously or shown intent to bite others. With this rule, landlords can also be held liable for aggressively behaving dogs on the property. Cats are also covered under the one bite rule, if they show aggressive tendencies toward humans or other animals. Negligence is also part of the legal statutes regarding dog bites. Based on animal control laws and local ordinances such as leash laws, there are many situations that can be seen as negligent. Keeping a dog confined to protect the rights of others, or letting a dog run loose in a daycare center or on a tenant’s property are just a few examples. Chaining a dog to a tree at a family gathering can also be considered negligence. Dog owners must abide by local animal control laws for the most part to avoid liability for negligence regarding handling dogs.
If you or anyone in your family has been bitten by a dog, please contact Kash Legal Group for a free consultation by phone at (310) 272-7157. Kashlegal Group also has a website with information regarding dog bite litigation. Visit our website at kashlegal.com for more details about our expert services with regard to dog bites.